Review of Business Rates Policy in Wales is launched

An independent review of Business Rates policy in Wales has been launched by Business and Enterprise Minister Edwina Hart.

The Minister has asked Professor Brian Morgan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University (previously UWIC), to chair the independent working group to consider current Welsh Business Rates policy and whether the policies meet the needs of Welsh business.

The Task and Finish group will also

  • Consider the relative importance of the non-domestic / business rates regime as a lever for supporting economic growth.
  • Assess the implications of specific policies in relation to small business rate relief, empty property rate relief, and rate relief as a targeted policy intervention to encourage economic development (to include renewable energy businesses as well as assistance in disadvantaged areas).
  • Make recommendations on the above, taking into account that non-domestic / business rates exist to raise funding for local services and recognising that non-domestic rates do not just apply to ‘businesses’ but to all non-domestic properties.

The Minister said she had received representations from businesses across Wales and was aware of concerns regarding business rates and the potential impact on the sustainability of businesses.

Mrs Hart said: “It is important that we look at all aspects Business Rates policy in Wales. The review will be short, sharp and robust and I am delighted that Professor Brian Morgan has agreed to Chair this key Task and Finish Group.

“Professor Morgan, an economist with a specialism in entrepreneurship and a businessman, brings a wealth of experience from a long career in both the private and public sectors.

“As part of its deliberations the Group will hear and gather evidence from key individuals and organisations across Wales.  Much of this work will take place during the next three to four months and the Group starts work this month.  I anticipate receiving the Group’s draft report before the end of February, 2012.”

Prof Brian Morgan said: “It is vital that the Welsh Government makes the very best use of Business Rates and other economic levers at its disposal to create the environment for ambitious companies to flourish.

“I very much look forward to working with the new team to see how we can help achieve this objective. I am confident that with the Welsh Government’s support we can make a real difference. “

Task & Finish Group membership

David Swallow (Eversheds);
Chris Sutton (Jones Lang LaSalle);
Helen Simpson (Institute of Fiscal Studies);
Juliet Luporini (Economic Chair of Swansea Business Improvement District);
A Local Government representative

The membership of the Group reflects and demonstrates expertise in the specific areas of property; private sector business; state aid; economic development measures; local authority collection and administration of non-domestic rates; small businesses; and academic expertise relevant to this area.

The Welsh Government has already extended the enhanced Small Business Rates Relief Scheme for a second 12-month period until 30 September 2012. Consequently, over half of business properties in Wales will benefit from business rate relief, and most of these will pay no business rates during this period.